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Albatross [Import]


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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Ifc Independent Film
  • Release Date: April 24 2012
  • ASIN: B006Z7Z3PE

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Albatross: `something that greatly hinders accomplishment' March 25 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Now and again a quiet little British movie pops up to remind us just how well the Brits know how to mix comedy and compassion. Such is the case with ALBATROSS, a gentle, sensitive tale written by Tazmin Rafn and directed by Niall MacCormick about a social misfit who imposes herself on a family in desperate need of a wakeup call. The film is blessed with a very fine cast (especially the blossoming of young actress Jessica Brown Findlay - remembered for her ongoing impressive role as Lady Sybil in `Downton Abbey') and for the breathtaking scenery of the Isle of Man. There is comedy here to be sure but here are other lessons about family and friendship and relationships that are importantly placed in perspective.

Cliff House is the Bed and Breakfast run by a dysfunctional family: the bitter mother Joa (Julia Ormond), her writer's block housebound husband Jonathan (Sebastian Koch) who wrote a book Cliff House 10 years ago and nothing since, bookish teenager Beth (Felicity Jones) and young Posy (Katie Overd). Into their lives pops Emelia, a rebellious, seductive and intelligent teenager whose sole claim to fame is her apparent ancestor Arthur Conan Doyle (she dreams of becoming a writer to carry on her legacy). Emelia takes a job as a cleaner at the B&B, befriends Beth - drawing her out of her mousy self perception in to the throes of early adulthood, begins an affair with Jonathan and gets scowled at by Joa. Emelia's only living family (her mother committed suicide recently) are her grandparents - Granny (Hazel Douglas) suffers from Alzheimer's Disease and Grandpa (the always superb actor Peter Vaughan) - for whom she holds deep affection and caring.

Beth is due to travel to Oxford for interview and despite the misgivings of Joa and the now lovesick Jonathan, Emelia accompanies Beth to the interview, there discovering the wilds of being raw and naughty. Upon return matters change: Granny dies, Emelia grieves, the affair between Emelia and Jonathan becomes open, and everything must change. The albatross of the title refers to the baggage each character carries, not just Emelia's name legacy The depth of friendships are tested - and survive.

Without exception the cast is first rate - Ormond and Koch are already established stars and Jessica Brown Findlay and Felicity Jones prove they are on their way to become very important actresses. This is a beautiful little film to watch and to think about. It is a first class little Indie. Grady Harp, March 12
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Welcome to a "Force-of-Nature" Feb. 20 2012
By Norman J. Willis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A beautiful film, fast moving focused storyline without distracting sub-plots. Jessica excels as the credible "force-of-nature" that changes the lives of each of the four main characters by removing the special albatross that is restraining each of their lives in different ways. Jessica Brown-Findlay, at only 21, having made this film just before Downton Abbey, is amazing. She is a very beautiful woman in body and face, with "lips to die for". Add her silky voice and facial expressions as she pouts her way thru this film and she will win any man's heart. This "force of nature" has discovered early in her life that she has the power to influence and charm people, mostly men, using her beauty, and forceful personality. She differs from most women in that she has little sense of vulnerabilty; she's a risk taker. I understand that in real life Jessica is not like her character "Emelia" in Albatross, but more like "Lady Sybil" in Downton Abbey. But she really enjoyed acting as Emelia because she could do sexy things in the film without getting into trouble. This is a real breakout for her, she is headed for super stardom. I love this film. Beautiful photography as well.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Coming of Age....on the Isle of Man.... Dec 8 2012
By CARLOS ROMERO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Once in a while, a small film comes along that blows away all your expectations! "Albatross" from 2011, written by Tamzin Rafn and directed by Niall MacCormick, is such a film. Not expecting much, this film turned out to be a pleasant and cheerful surprise. This comedy-drama, set on the scenic Isle of Man (in the Irish Sea: between Great Britain and Ireland), is the bittersweet 'coming-of-age' story of two teenagers ('Emelia' and 'Beth') from different backgrounds and circumstances, whom become fast friends. Helped along by a very clever script, flawless direction, and an excellent cast: Felicity Jones 'Beth', Sebastian Koch 'Jonathan', the vastly talented and underused Julia Ormond 'Joa', veteran character actor Peter Vaughan 'Grandpa', Katie Overd 'Posey', and the discovery of the decade in Jessica Brown-Findlay 'Emelia'. 'Emelia' is easily the standout character: whose headstrong personality and clever wit is infectious and irresistible (Jessica Brown-Findlay is a natural). And she looks like a mythical spirit of nature herself! 'Emelia' is a force to be reckoned with, whose untapped potential will soon find the inspiration it needs. I don't want to spoil the film for anyone, so I won't give anything away. If you want a simultaneously uplifting (there's no heavy social-melodrama here), and unpretentious story that is also willing to be bold without the need to insult our intelligence, than this touching comedy-drama is just that. There is a scene near the end of the film, where 'Posey' dressed in a costume says "..look..I'm..just..like...Emelia.." I thought that said it all, just brilliant. The DVD picture and sound quality by MPI is excellent. NTSC, English (English subtitles), NR 90 mins.

Love and Peace,
Carlos Romero
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Loose Conan March 22 2012
By Olly Buxton - Published on Amazon.com
Opening shot's a doozy: a dishevelled teenager, sultry and pouting: bee-sting lips. She stands on a cold beach, in her jeans. The shot tightens, zooms in like a spaceship approaching a new planet. Features on the landscape expand, atomise, freckles fractalise and whoa! We're getting too close captain! We cannae escape her gravitational field! We're going in!

We linger hopefully on the event horizon of a teenaged kiss, but the camera jumps into hyperspace and pops out laterally, rotating back, to give a full account of that kiss - it's the real deal: tongues waggling, jaws working, string of backlit spit glistening like morning dew kind of thing - between young girl and a spotty teenaged boy.

You tease.

They're at an illicit beach party. The girl lights a firework and drops it in a drum. The drum machineguns and billows smoke. Officer Dibble comes running, tout le monde vamoose, but our sultry kisser stands stock still and has her collar felt. Subtext: she's a loose cannon. Given the actual fireworks, it barely even counts as a subtext, come to think of it.

In this way do we meet Emelia Conan Doyle (Jessica Brown Findlay). Yes, you read that right: Conan Doyle.

Emelia has secured a part-time job at Cliff House, a bed and breakfast occupied by a once-successful writer, run by his once-successful wife, and staffed by their yet-to-be-successful daughter. Emelia quickly digs herself in to the family. Daddy turns his head. So does daughter. Loose cannon starts going off.

And thence, much of the film preoccupies itself, literally and metaphorically, with subtexts. Like the firework in the drum, many are barely submerged. Daddy and Emelia (supposedly trying to emulate her famous forebear) spend much time talking about "subtext".

This is Tamzin Rafn's first realised screenplay. It is Brown Findlay's first film. Both bring to the picture a sheen of freshness and honesty that a longer tooth would have bitten through. There's a pleasant air of naivety. The picture needs this to work, and it gets it.

Brown-Findlay, in particular, is a find: she has the natural energy, charisma and beauty to fill the screen, and she's sex on a stick. That isn't to say she's a perfect actress. Her delivery is sometimes excellent, but often forced. But then, so are her lines. Her character isn't entirely coherent: Super cool one minute; achingly vulnerable the next. Give Rafn the benefit of the doubt: put that down to realistic depiction of spinny teenaged hormones.

There's spinny, though, and there's preposterous: Sometimes plausibility loses out to a better punch line: Emelia first encounters the writer Jonathan (Sebastian Koch) when she walks in on him privately enjoying some online cinema one-handed (if you catch my drift). That, you would think, would nix any relationship between a savvy seventeen year old and a forty-seven year old loser: that it doesn't risks undermining the very premise of the film. It transpires the scene is required simply as the set up for (an admittedly very funny) joke later on.

The experienced cast around Brown Findlay is excellent, and admirably gives her time and space for her untutored charisma to flood the screen. Koch (well known from the excellent Lives of Others) is understated and horribly plausible as a mid-crisis emasculated middle-aged man. Felicity Jones' Beth is a studied and well observed performance. Julia Ormond chews a little bit of scenery, as her part requires, but doesn't get in the way, and provides well placed comic relief and the occasional plot nudge.

The photography is also nicely done. There are a number of set pieces which are beautifully framed, and Southern England is captured in a fairly unrecognisable golden light.

I enjoyed Albatross. It was a quiet pleasure. I don't think it will bust any box office records, but you can see it being the beginning of a notable career or two. Brown Findlay will only get better with experience. So, I dare say, will Rafn.

Olly Buxton
Flickfeast
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Well-acted and written little movie, nice scenery Sept. 30 2012
By Alan A. Elsner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The Isle of Man, between England and Ireland, is the scene for this rather sweet and well-acted little coming-of-age drama. The director makes full use of the spectacular coastal vistas the island offers.

At its heart, this is a movie about two young girls, aged around 17. Beth is the older of two daughters -- her father once produced a highly-acclaimed novel but that was 20 years ago. He can't reproduce that success and now sits in his attic diddling on his computer. Her mother was an actress but is now reduced to carrying the family who keep a guesthouse overlooking the sea.

Amelia's father walked out when she was young and her mother committed suicide. She lives with a grandmother who has Alzheimer's and an old grandfather. She's deeply angry and quit school.

When Amelia starts work as a cleaner at the guesthouse, she becomes entangled in Beth's family -- the object of friendship for Beth and lust for her father.

How these kids work out their issues, making plenty of mistakes along the way, becomes the heart of this movie which has moments that are both sad and funny but ultimately takes an optimistic stance. It's not great -- but of its genre it's very good. The two leads are excellent and in general the acting is understated and all the more effective for that.

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